May 15

Wayfaring Stranger: Rhiannon Giddens’ Hauntingly Poignant Rendition

There is a certain reverence to a song whenever it is dedicated to our Lord. And in gospel’s vast repertoire, there is no other song like “Wayfaring Stranger.” The feel of the song accurately portrays the trials of which we undergo before we go to our eternal resting place.

Wayfaring Stranger

There is a sense of tiredness in the classic American song “Wayfaring Stranger,” of which we could easily latch on to. However, we are different wayfaring strangers in our rights, based on our different paths of life. The song was from the 19th century, and it is about a plaintive soul on the journey through life.

Wayfaring Stranger, Rhiannon, Giddens, Rhiannon Giddens
via Rhiannon Giddens/ Official Facebook Page

And, in this hauntingly poignant rendition that Rhiannon Giddens provides us remains as a reminder of life’s weary existence.

Rhiannon Giddens: The External Societal Struggle

Rhiannon Giddens holds true to mixing bluegrass with strong Celtic vibes with her rendition of the song. You would instantly be pulled into her angelic voice. The way she sings the song makes you feel like she’s the type of wayfarer who has been through everything that life threw at her. And now that she has the opportunity to come home to her, God brings her such relief.

Wayfaring Stranger, Rhiannon, Giddens, Rhiannon Giddens
via Rhiannon Giddens/ Official Facebook Page

Giddens portrays a woman who capitulates to her fate and leaves it up to her faith for her deliverance. It feels like she’s tired, to be quite honest. The lyrics mirror her sadness in carrying the burden of life alone. She has known all sadness that life cared to show her. And now, she’s ready to come home to her God.

Listen to her amazing rendition here:

Other Versions

Another notable version of the song is by the Man in Black himself, Johnny Cash. Cash gives us a darker version of the song, with what seems to be grim overtones with his strong baritone.

Wayfaring stranger, Johnny Cash, in the sweet by and by
Photo Credits: Johnny Cash/Official Facebook Home Page

His life is no secret to us, his fans. And, I believe he put himself into the song. When you close your eyes and just feel the song, you could feel his intentions. It strongly speaks of his demons, of which he battled so bravely during his lifetime. But now, he is home.

Take a listen here.


Johnny Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Wayfaring Stranger

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